Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Day at CraftBoston

My sister and I spent the day at CraftBoston yesterday. We took the DownEaster train down from Portland, which I highly recommend: it was only $40 for a round trip ticket, and it saves the trouble of parking in Boston, not to mention the gas money.

It was sort of a research expedition, though I did make a purchase while I was there. I wanted to remember how a professional show looks and feels, as well as get some ideas for the booth that I am mentally building, as preface to physically building it. I did learn a few things, and was reminded of others. In no particular order:

  • Lighting is key. I knew this, but was strongly reminded: insufficient lighting can cause a booth to just disappear.
  • I really, really need to raise my prices, on the big things, at least; although even my mugs would be at the rock-bottom end of the range at this show.
  • I won't be using black walls or curtains. This is, I'm sure, subjective, but the booths I felt drawn to used lighter colors.
  • While all the booths looked nice and professional, they weren't as utterly fabulous as I was remembering. This is good news because I now feel confident that I can build something which won't be insufficiently fabby; maybe even something that stands out as fabbier than average.
  • There should be something - more than one thing - near the front of the booth which is very affordable. Wandering around among the $1200 garments and $12000 furniture can make one start to regard the show as more of a museum, because buying something is completely out of the question. It was pretty exciting when I came across items that I could afford: a wooden spoon here, a pot holder there. I almost bought the wooden spoon just because I could, and I did buy three of the hot pads.
  • Attending this show actually made me less enthusiastic about doing this show: observing and reading between the lines I got the sense that sales were disappointing. I hope I'm wrong, but that was the feeling I got. Several people told me they'd "made a lot of good contacts" - the "great personality" of art fair descriptors.
  • I was surprised to see some knuckle-busters. Apparently not everyone has made the jump to Square. There was wireless service in the building, too, so Paypal was an option.
  • The Buffalo wings at The Whiskey Priest are the best!
The show is still open until 4 pm today.
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